Combined Suggestions, Minneapolis
Old St. Anthony area is one of 13 neighborhoods that make up Northeast Minneapolis. Formerly a working-class settlement of largely Polish, Italian, German, Russian and Finnish immigrants, this area has undergone a renaissance of redevelopment in the past decade with new restaurants, bars, shops, condos and a thriving arts community capitalizing on more affordable rents than downtown. With many of the older brick and stone buildings thoughtfully recycled rather than cleared for new construction, it also has more soul than the steel-and-glass city center just across the river.
For the visitor staying downtown, this is a great place to pub crawl safely without needing a vehicle. With many bar/restaurants scattered within easy walking distance of each other and your bed just a short cab ride across the river, you can tipple without Breathalyzer Anxiety. Heck, with a decent pair of shoes on you can even wobble home across the Stone Arch Bridge, if you're up to it.
Among the watering holes on or just off of East Hennepin:
Keegan's Irish Pub
Nye's Bar and Polonaise Room
Mac's Industrial Sports Bar
New Bohemia Wurst and BierHaus
There is also a handful of small, working-man bars scattered here and there, and the St. Anthony Main riverfront establishments (see Things to Do review) are just a few blocks away: something for everyone. *hic*
A sidebar about Nye's: Esquire magazine rated this America's #1 Bar in 2006. A Northeast landmark since 1949, it's a virtual time capsule of the 1960's-era supper club with low lighting, kitschy vinyl booths and weird, beery aroma. They have food (Polish) but it's the karaoke piano bar and World's Most Dangerous Polka Band that pack 'em in. All ages. All occupations. All the time. If you're not fun, don't even think about it (http://www.nyespolonaise.com)
Dress Code: Dress code? Northeast? You're kidding, right? Reasonably clean and covered, you'll be fine.
Bryant Lake is an Uptown/Lyn-Lake destination in and of itself: a plethora of irreverence under one roof. First of all, it is a vintage, score-your-own bowling alley with funky wooden lanes and antiquated ball returns. Secondly, it's an eclectic, slightly pricey restaurant with a heavy lean towards good-for-you, locally sourced sandwiches, salads, appetizers and entrees of grass-fed beef, organic greens and chicken, seafood and meatless offerings. Thirdly, it's a theater with a busy schedule ranging from comedy sketches to literary lectures. Last, but far from least, it's a fun place for a beer. The clientele is young-ish and lively and it's probably not the best choice for the kiddies although they do have bumpers on the lanes.
Lots of specials and stuff going on here so check out the website for hours, events, menu and directions. The lanes are BUSY so be sure to look at the FAQ section for open bowling times and making advance reservations for groups.
Dress Code: Must have socks to bowl. They will rent you socks. Really.
Liked the local atmosphere of Grumpy's Tavern/Bar. The bartender was very personable and we liked the guitars on the wall-which are for sale. They had an old "red owl' logo guitar which is very cool and reminded me of red owl ware such as glasses etc. that I used to see in my grandparents cupboards in St. Paul. Was early in the day for much activity but liked the smell of the place, layout, etc and they have a menu. Close to the Holiday Inn Metrodome hotel. Bartender said they have some live events as well.
Dress Code: Casual
This place has a cool little cabaret. Local bands play there and some really funny comedy acts perform as well. Bowling is also an option. A long list of import and domestic bottled beers and wine too.
Dress Code: Anything goes. It's pretty casual.
Downtown Minneapolis is the mecca for partiers on Friday and Saturday nights. All along First Avenue North, by the Target Center are dozens of bars and restaurants that attract tens of thousands.
Some key places to check out are; Champs (alley in summertime), Drink, Old Chicago, The District, Harveys, Loon Cafe, Escape, Glueks, LoneTree, The Lounge, Bellanote, just to mention some of the most popular.
After night out on the town head over to Pizza Luce on 4th street for some late night eats. It's a great place after bar to check out people as well.
Dress Code: Most of the bars and restaurants do not enforce a strict dress code, however it is best not to wear sneakers or anything that can be preceived as "gangster" attire.
Hennepin Avenue used to be very seedy, much like NY's Times Square area of a decade ago. Strip clubs, adult bookstores. Vice of every nature. But real estate development has been a big deal along Hennepin Avenue with the Target Center (home to the Timberwolves) just a block to the north. New hotels, theaters and upscale clubs and restaurants have pushed the seedy dives to other areas. Augies is really the last bastion of bad taste in downtown Minneapolis.
The Mall of America has everything...
Bars/Clubs (Comedy and Dance), Bowling, Arcade.... all of these are on the 4th floor.
Best of all it's free parking and for the most part it's pretty secure and safe.
I don't know downtown very well but the few times I had gone, I wasn't all that impressed and I had to pay for parking. Although, the Gay 90's is a hoot.
Maybe this summer I'll go out more downtown and I'll let you know what I find out.
Dress Code: Most people in the 'Hot' spots dress up mainly in black, and the women wear as little as possible to the clubs (even in the winter).
~Hmmmm~ people are funny to watch, they try so hard externally to get noticed by the opposite sex. The only problem is, manytimes it attracts the wrong kind of people. Just remember to be careful and never sell yourself short. You're worth more than what you think.
the following bars can be found in UPTOWN:
THE RED DRAGON (24th & lyndale) serves huge fishbowl cocktails. have a mai-ti($5), skip the chinese food. up the road you'll find MORTIMERS (franklin & lyndale) and LYLES (franklin & hennipen). all three bars are divine people meeting places. dress up, dress down -you'll fit in. uptown is where we live and where we drink.
downtown by bus $1, by taxi $4-5. be sure to ask bus/taxi to let you off at street/bar, uptown's a big area.